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I have a multiboot laptop and yesterday for no reason, I started getting complicated messages from syslogd, straight to screen (without my asking for them). Kernel messages, I suppose, complaining about so many things and outputting so many numbers, that I had no idea what was wrong.
The rest of the OS' on the laptop also failed. However, the system is not dead. I can still boot into my Slackware, and do commandline stuff.
I tried live CD's on the system and, amazingly, they collapse too.
I-m getting around to the fact that this must be a hardware or a BIOS problem, that's the only way to explain it. Would you agree? However, as I say, some stuff still works, so it must be a partially failed component.
No tlooking for answers, just for comments from other people who maybe have run into system reactions like this.
Many liveCD/DVD and installation CD/DVD distros include a utility called memtest86, which is usually available from the disks boot menu. Memtest86 should be run before the OS is booted and using ram. Memtest86 will test your RAM. If you have a bad chip, or one on the verge of failure, memtest86 should tell you about it.
Distrowatch.com may also have listed small liveCD type distros dedicated to hardware testing.
Only time I experienced the same situation, it was the CPU cooling fan (system didn't have a fan monitor). It was the CPU overheating that was causing the read/write errors on the drives. Unfortunately, the way I realized the problem is that the CPU fried while I was frantically trying to salvage data. I always recommend checking that, especially when more than one drive is affected.
Thanks for the comments dragonslayer48dx, yes, I've been reading up at little and there's a multitude of reasons why things might get messed up.
CPU overheating, well, you do get some warning, probably too late by then of course, but I have had a little smoke come off one once and it didn't die.
My fault looks pretty much like memory errors. Slackware works but it appears not to be able to use some of the big software libraries. mplayer and mpg321 just about work. vim unfortunately fails a bit. But still, at least it works a little.
My guess is that it's using the bits of memory which aren't FUBAR yet.